10 Best Central America Beginner Surfing Spots

If you want to learn to surf where it is not crowded, here are the 10 best Central American beginning surfing spots. For year-round good consistent surfing, good food, reasonable hotels and airfare, Central America is the place to go. El Salvador from March to October, and Costa Rica year-round, offer several good beginning surfing spots. Panama is mostly for the more experienced surfer. Be on the lookout for bandits and thieves when traveling in Central America.

  1. Sunzal (Zunzal), El Salvador. Waves in this location of Central America have a consistent right break and are often chest high and include a few overhead. This location is not super crowded. Be careful of sharks and rocks. The water here is mostly clean.  Use your big wave gun, shortboard, fish, funshape or longboard.
  2. Punta Roca and La Paz, El Salvador. The world-class right waves here have runs up to ¼ mile. Beginners will enjoy the inside section at LaPaz. Watch for rocks, undertow, rip currents, urchins, and thieves which are prominent in Central America. It can get crowded but the water is clean. Use your big wave gun, shortboard, fish, funshape or longboard.
  3. Playa Conchalio, El Salvador. This is the place to go for fast , hollow waves. This area is good for all surfers. The bottom of the water is sand and the water is clean. Watch out for thieves. Use your shortboard, fish, funshape, or longboard.
  4. La Bocana, El Salvador. This is a great place for a left break and the long and powerful rivermouth break. This spot is not too crowded. The bottom is sand and the river mouth is dirty. Watch out for localism. Use your big wave gun, shortboard, fish, funshape, or longboard.
  5. Zonti, El Salvador.  Go here to experience their quality right point breaks with hollow outside sections and long rides. It is less crowded here and the water is clean. All surfers can enjoy Zonti, but watch out for banditos. Use a shortboard, fish, funshape, or longboard.
  6. Playa Naranjo (Witches Rock), Costa Rica. Take a boat to get here from Playas del Coco to check out their fast hollow right and left waves. The biggest and best swell is in the summer, but the winter features steady offshore winds. Watch out for the poor roads, big crocs, bugs and mosquitoes, but the bottom is sand and the water is clean. All surfers enjoy this location. Use your shortboard, fish, funboard, or longboard here.
  7. Playa Tamarindo, Costa Rica. For all surfers this Central American location is good year-round and features many good surfing spots. The bottom is sand and rocks, and the water is clean. Look out for the rocks, but also keep an eye out for thieves. Use your shortboard, fish, funshape, or longboard here.
  8. Playa Negra – Avallanes, Costa Rica. The best time to go to Playa Negra in Central America is summer where all surfers can enjoy the fun beach-break waves; however, it does get fairly crowded. Watch out for the freak set of waves that may roll through when there are larger swells. The bottom is sand and rock and the water is clean. Use your shortboard, fish, funshape, or longboard.
  9. Dominical, Costa Rica. Enjoy the summer swells and less crowded areas. The waves are head high to double overhead all year long. Fast surfing on hollow, powerful waves can break your board. The bottom is sand but be careful of stingrays, serious riptides and jelly fish. Use your shortboard, fish, funshape, or longboard.
  10. Matapalo, Costa Rica. Take a trip to Central America this summer and be sure to go to Matapalo. It has larger swells and a right-hand point break that peels for over 200 yards. It is not crowded and there’s something for every surfer. The bottom is reef and sand, but watch out for the rocks, riptides, and sharks. The water is mostly clean.  Use your shortboard, fish, funshape or longboard.
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